Hindu bodies lay complaints against nine people over Diwali ‘hate speech’
Durban - The South African Hindu Dharma Sabha and the South African Hindu Youth Movement laid formal complaints with the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) and Facebook against nine people who allegedly made offensive remarks about Hindus’ Diwali celebrations.
President of the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha Ram Maharaj said: “We respectfully request the South African Human Rights Commission to approach the Equality Court and institute proceedings in terms of Section 20 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000.”
He said the alleged remarks could be deemed to be offensive, obscene and derogatory. Some of the offensive remarks they complained about included: “These idiots have no respect for themselves nor animals it won’t go unnoticed karma does harm when needed” and “Diwali, the disgraceful religion of cruelty and shame”.
Over the past few years, remarks have been made against Hindus that have been taken to the SAHRC.
Last year Kosta Kalarytis said: “F**k your religion and culture if it means you’ll be scaring animals and children late at night with firecrackers.”
SA Hindu Dharma Sabha wrote to the SAHRC about Kalarytis’s remark and the matter is still pending.
In 2018, the Daily News reported that Greytown businessman Regesh Govender took his neighbour, Johan Olivier, to court over a Facebook comment that Olivier made after Govender lit fireworks.
Olivier was fined R10 000 or faced three years in prison.
President of the South African Hindu Youth Movement Vedhan Singh said the offensive comments hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
”The right to freedom of expression cannot be said to automatically trump the right to human dignity. The right to human dignity is at least as worthy of protection as the right to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression does not enjoy superior status in our law,” Singh said.
He added that these remarks about Hindus went against the South African Constitution